An orange cat poses with a book and pair of glasses.

How Smart Are Cats? Everything You Need to Know

Cats are smart. In fact, cats have almost twice as many neurons in their brains than dogs. Some articles try to refute this claim but it’s true.

People perceive cats as not smart because of their mysterious nature and total independence. It is common for people to compare the intelligence of dogs to cats.

This is a difficult comparison because dogs are totally different. Dogs are pack animals and rely on a pack leader. They need each other to hunt. Therefore in the home, dogs will commonly involve themselves in household routines as a way to connect with the pack. Cats don’t need anyone which may be one of the reasons Why Don’t Cats Listen When They’re Called?

Another difference between cats and dogs is that although dogs and cats can have a variety of personalities and can be either introverts or extroverts, it is more common for cats to be introverted and dogs to be extroverted. The increased interactions with dogs can be mistaken for intelligence. Cats are content to be alone for hours. Dogs commonly need direction from the pack to feel secure. Cats are also less patient, less tolerant, and more impulsive.

How Smart Are Cats: Understanding the Cat Brain

The cat brain takes up approximately 0.9% of its body mass compared to about 1.2% for the average dog, and 2% for humans. But this is a good instance to indicate that once again size doesn’t matter.

The brain isn’t just about size. What matters is the structure and density within the brain. If you look back at the first primitive humans, also known as Neanderthals, their brains were very large and they were unable to survive. When considering the brain, you not only have the size of the brain but the fact that some brains have folds within the brain that increase the total surface area. The brains of cats have a very detailed matrix of folds that make their brain much more similar to the human brain as compared to dogs. The brain of cats is considered more complex and contains double the number of neurons as compared to dogs. Cats have better long-term memories than dogs.

Some cat breeds are more intelligent than others. Learn more about Most Intelligent Cat Breeds.

Cat Communication

Cats have amazing abilities to communicate with each other and with us. They use a variety of gestures, movements, vocalizations, and olfactory signals to communicate fear, anger, happiness, love, aggression, contentment, relaxation and annoyance. Careful observation of cat behavior can allow you to quickly read the various moods of cats. Learn more about some communication methods in cats.

How Do Cats Communicate with Each Other?

How Do Cats Communicate With Humans?

Are Cats Trainable?

Cats are very trainable. Their individual trainability varies from cat to cat but in general, cats can be very trainable. Cats can learn to sit, stay, come and even fetch. Basic training for cats involves obedience training just as it does for dogs.

The issue with cats is to encourage them to want to be trained. It’s 5 am and they are up waiting for their meal. Some cats come running in response to various stimuli such as the rattle of certain food wrapper, the opening of a can, or the doorbell.

Cats are very smart and generally have an instinct for the litter box. Learn more about litter box training cats.

One method that can be used to train cats is to use clicker training. With this method, you can teach a cat to sit, jump up, or lie down.

If you have not been to a cat show, there can be amazing entertainment events of well-trained cats running through boxes, leaping from place to place, and performing very complex acts. Learn more about clicker training your cat.

Cats are smart, and they’re probably a lot smarter than you think.

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